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November 18, 2008     Cape Gazette
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Garden & Farm 22 TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 18 - THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2008 I Cape Gazette Harrington farmer wins conservation award The Delaware Department of Agriculture has announced that Delaware farmer Chuck Hurd has been chosen to receive the Farmer-Rancher Pollinator Con- servation Award from the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign and the National As- sociation of Conservation Dis- tricts. This award recognizes an individual or family in the farm and ranch community in the U.S. who has contributed signlficant- lyto pollinator species protec- tion and conservation on work- ing and wild lands. Hurd, who farms Lister Acres in Harrington, was nominated for the award by Dr. Faith Kuehn, administrator of the Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) Plant Industries Section, fo r his efforts on behalf of a long- term bee conservation project initiated by DDA and funded, in part, by Northeast Sustainable Research and Education. Among, Hurd's environmental best man- agement practices and advocacy that contributes to pollinator conservation: In 2005 Chuck Hurd offered DDA use of an acre of his farm to plant a native wildflower mead- ow that he continues to maintain. DDA uses the "bee meadow" as a bee survey studr site. In 2000, Hurd installed 14 acres of Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) filter strips. He maintains the filter strips and delays mowing until after most of the flowering plants have stopped blooming, thereby preserving season-long forage for pollinators. Natural plant community succession continues to introducea number of native bee forage plants into the filter strips. Hurd's farming practices demonstrate a good understand- ing of pollinator conservation. .Approximately 90 percent of the acreage in production is no till. He applies pesticides when absolutely necessary; however, he only applies insecticides after sunset to protect foraging bees from contact with the product. In land that is not in produc- tion or enrolled in the CREP pro- gram, he has installed buffers and has allowed natural seeding to introduce a number of bee for- ge plants. He maintains, relatively undisturbed, a large tract of for- est along the southern boundary of the Lister Acres property. This diverse and mature stand of bottomland hardwoods provides ample nesting and foraging op- portunities for insect pollinators from wood-nesting bees to but- terflies. In addition to practices al- ready in place, Hurd signed up for a farm assessment that is part of the department's Farming for Native Bees proiect. The depart- ment is reviewing the farm's land use and habitat structure, pro- duction practices, pesticide use and consegvation philosophy. Based on the proiect's recom- mendations, farmers will be asked to commit to a series of conservation improvements aimed at improving habitat and forage for native bees. He assisted DDA with instal- SUBMITTED PHOTO DELAWARE FARMER CHUCK HURD has been chosen to receivethe Farmer- Rancher Pollinator Conservation Award. Hurd's farm, Lister Acres, is in Harrington. lation of a butterfly garden on his property. Plants in the garden are primarily native plants, cho- sen to provide food and shelter for bees, butterflies and natural enemy insects. Due to his involvement with the DDA bee proiect, Hurd be- came interested in beekeeping. He attended training sessions of- fered by the Delaware Beekeep- ers Association, rescued a num- ber of swarms and now main- tains his own hives at Lister Acres. Hurd has helped to raise awareness of the need for poUi- Continued on page 23 You can add a new dimension to your garden liver Cromwell was not O only the lord protector of England but a strict Puritan. So it is no sur- prise that he is said to be the furst to use the phrase "warts and all:' in his instruction to his portrait painter. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but what could be beautiful about warts? There is a most remarkable and quite beautiful squash that is literally covered with warts. The Galeux d'Eysines squash (Cucurbita maxima) is a flat- tened, rosy salmon peach squash that is covered with warts or bumps. The name roughly translates as "embroidered with pebbles from Eysines." Eysines is a town in southwest- ern France known for its market gardens. The Galeux d'Esyines squash makes a stunning table decora- tion or even abumpy iack o'lantern. The squash grows on ram- bling vines that produce two or three fruits after about 90 days. Gaieux d'Eysines can weigh from five pounds up to 25 pounds. The deep carrot-orange flesh cooks up smooth and silky. It can be used like any winter squash as a vegetable side dish or made into smooth soups and when spiced into pumpkin pie. The flavor is slightly nutty and sweet. The very thin skins of these squash make them easy to peel and prepare. However, that same thin skin means they prob- ably won't store more than a few months. While all squash originated in the Western Hemisphere this squash has been growfffor cen- turies in Europe and so is a true heirloom. Like all heirlooms it is open pollinated which means you can save the seeds and they will grow true to type. For best seed purity grow in isolation or hand pollinate the flowers. If you only grow one winter squash, grow this one! Seeds are available from Southern Expo- sure Seeds (southernexposure.com) Baker Creek (rareseeds.com) or Seed Savers Exchange (seedsavers.org). To save your own seed let your best squash fully ripen, then clean out the seeds and let them air dry. Store the seeds in a cool, dark place. You can either direct sow the seed fight into the garden or THE GALEUX D'ESYINES SQUASH makes a stunning tble decoration or even a bumpy jack o'lantern. start the seeds indoors in peat pots about two weeks before your last frost. Plant Galeux d'Eysines winter squash in very rich soil. Choose a sunny spot with good drainage. The soil should have pH be- tween 6 and 7. For better yields add aged manure or compost. You can also side dress with fer- tilizer throughout the season. Sow the seed every 6 to 12 inch- es in rows about 6 or 8 feet apart. You can also plant the seeds in small mounds or hills, with four or five seeds in each hill. Keep the hills about 6 to 8 feet apart in each direction. Once the plants are up, thin to the strongest three plants in each hill. Water well but don't let the plants get soggy. The vigorous vines will even climb if you give them strong support. Harvest the squash in autumn when the skin is too tough to be easily punctured with a thumb- nail. Use a knife to cut the squash from the vines and try to leave at least an inch of the stem attached. Growing an heirloom squash adds another dimension to gar- dening. The Galeux d'Eysines squash will make a beautiful centerpiece and one of your fa- vorite eating squashes, warts and all Address questions or comments to Paul Barbano c/o the Cape Gazette.